Delivered by Ambassador Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, to the 1323th meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, 8 July 2021
Ukraine has aligned itself with the statement delivered under this current issue by the delegation of the European Union. At the same time, I would also like to add some remarks in the national capacity.
Ukraine took note of the outcomes of the 53rd round of the Geneva International Discussions. In this regard we have to regretfully recognize that the Russian Federation’s policy aimed at illegal militarization and de-facto annexation of Russia-occupied Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali remains unchanged.
To say more, in an attempt to define unilaterally the Georgian-Russian state border along the segment of the above mentioned occupied Georgian territories, the Russian Federation has intensified the process of illegal seizure of a part of Aibgha village of Gagra District into Krasnodar region.
Let me reiterate – nowadays one OSCE participating State tries to cut part of the sovereign territory of other OSCE participating State! We condemn these illegal actions by the Russian Federation. This situation as well as Russian destructive position in the framework of politico-diplomatic efforts to resolve the Russian-Ukrainian conflict clearly reflects Russian consistent policy aimed at fuelling conflicts in the OSCE area for the reasons of achieving its own particular geopolitical goals.
Russia’s readiness to easily break fundamental principles of international law for the sake of its individual interests becomes an obvious fact for everyone already. It should be considered as nothing else but a global threat to European security which needs proper reaction of the international community, including through intensified consolidated sanction policy.
Deteriorating humanitarian situation on the Russia-occupied Georgian territories as well aggravating impediments to the freedom of movement for local population are only few outcomes of Russia`s ongoing occupation of Georgia’s regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali. Russia’s negligence towards numerous problems faced by the conflict-affected population was clearly demonstrated to all, when representatives of the Russian Federation and its occupation regimes walked out of the negotiations again while the issue of internally displaced persons was discussed during the 53rd round of Discussions.
The Russian occupation authorities continue apprehending illegally the people who try to overcome barriers raised on the occupation line.
It’s been one year already since the Russian occupation forces wounded and illegally detained the Georgian citizen Zaza Gakheladze. These illegal actions followed by the decision of the Russian occupation regime in Georgian Tskhinvali region on extension of his illegal detention for more than 12 years are nothing else but Russia’s blatant disregard of the 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and international humanitarian law. We call on Russia to release Zaza Gakheladze and other illegally detained persons immediately.
Ukraine also calls on the Russian Federation to fulfil its obligations under the 2008 EU-mediated ceasefire agreement and withdraw its armed formations and occupation administrations from the temporarily occupied territories of Georgia. In order to reach progress on the security situation on the ground Russia must reciprocate Georgia’s constructive approach upon peaceful resolution of the Russian-Georgian conflict. Having unilaterally reaffirmed the non-use of force commitments, Georgia has demonstrated its political will in this regard. Russia, as a party to the conflict, should do the same.
The regrettable fact that the Gali Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism remains suspended since 2018 does not contribute to conflict resolution process. The operation of the Mechanism has to be restored unconditionally and on the basis of its founding principles.
The delegation of Ukraine once again refers to the Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case concerning the armed conflict between Georgia and the Russian Federation in August 2008 and its consequences. This decision is notable in terms of demonstrating the important fact that both international law and international community are on the side of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. Russia must comply with this decision fully.
As the delegation of Ukraine mentioned before in this hall, all court cases, filed against the Russian Federation both by Ukraine and Georgia are aimed at bringing Russia to responsibility for violations of human rights and fundamental norms and principles of international law. Russia will not avoid responsibility for its acts of military aggression against independent states and its peoples.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate Ukraine’s unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders.
I thank you, Madam Chairperson.